he European Commission has denied allegations from a German MEP that it hid the results of a report looking into the dangers of piracy.

Julia Reda, of the Pirate Party Germany, reported that the Commission paid Dutch consulting firm Ecorys €360,000 ($428,000) in 2014 to research the effect piracy had on sales of copyrighted content.

Reda posted a link to the final report, dated in 2015, which allegedly said: “The results do not show robust statistical evidence of displacement of sales by online copyright infringements.

“That does not necessarily mean that piracy has no effect but only that the statistical analysis does not prove with sufficient reliability that there is an effect.”

The German MEP further stated in the post that the report was never published and was only obtained when she made a freedom of information request.

“To properly discuss such far-reaching proposals, we clearly need to have access to all available evidence on whether such displacement actually takes place in practice,” she stated.

However, speaking to WIPR, Commission spokesperson Lucia Caudet stated that the report “did not conclude that piracy isn’t harmful” and that the Commission did not try to hide the findings.

“Nowhere do the results question the effect of piracy on copyrighted content sales,” she stated.

“On the contrary, the most relevant results of the study concluded that, taking a limited sample of top 100 blockbuster movies in six countries, almost half (40%) of the illegally watched movies would have generated legitimate sales had illegal content not been available.”

Caudet said the assertion that the results do not show statistical evidence of displacement is incorrect, and that for content other than the 100 blockbuster movies, “the study was statistically inconclusive (ie, no conclusion can be drawn).”

The Commission proposed a number of measures on copyright reform in September last year, when it issued a statement setting out proposals on the modernisation of copyright to increase cultural diversity in Europe.

It added that the copyright directive aims to reinforce the position of rights owners to negotiate and be remunerated for the online exploitation of their content on video-sharing platforms such as YouTube.